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“Early College” high school students in North Carolina are experiencing higher levels of success than many of their peers at traditional high schools, according to research conducted by Dr. Julie Edmunds at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG).

Dr. Edmunds has been tracking the progress of early college students since 2006 and has found positive impacts at the high school and college levels. In her study, 86 percent of early college students enrolled in college compared to 65 percent of the control group.



Since the implementation of the Lindamood Bell reading program, testing results have shown Macon County students have had significant improvements in reading and math while in the program. The small, intensive group learning environments, paired with learning intervention using LMB scientifically-based programs such as Seeing Stars, have been a tremendous asset to students needing some additional help in the classroom.

Not only has Macon County invested in more than 250 teachers in the district to be trained and proficient in the LMB program, the district has also made a significant financial contribution to the cause to the tune of about $500,000 since 2011.

Despite the progress the program has shown, a lack of funding is forcing school officials to scale back the program considerably.


The business of manufacturing has changed dramatically in recent years.

That’s why Southwestern Community College is fundamentally overhauling the way it trains the manufacturing employees of tomorrow.

With more than $1.5 million in Golden LEAF grant funding secured over the winter, Southwestern has purchased advanced manufacturing equipment and hired longtime instructor Jim Falbo to coordinate a new mechatronics engineering technology program that will begin this summer.

“These aren’t your grandfather’s manufacturing jobs,” said Sonja Haynes, SCC’s dean of workforce innovations. “We’re talking about more advanced automation and robotics. It’s no longer a job where you sit at a workstation and assemble something with your hands all day. Everything is computerized and more technical, and we can get you ready to fill these jobs in a short amount of time.”

This project received support from the Golden LEAF Foundation.



With the rising costs of providing school meals, the Macon County School system recently approved another increase to the cost of school lunches. While the price has risen steadily over the last couple of years due to the increase in cost of goods that meet federal guidelines under the Healthy Hunger- Free Kids Act, there seems to be no end in sight.

The latest increase came at a cost of 10 cents, which brings elementary students' meal costs to $2.35 and secondary students to $2.55.

“As part of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, it says that our average lunch prices have to be compared to the reimbursement rates and using the formula provided, it says that we have to raise our prices by 10 cents,” Kim Terrell, child nutrition director for Macon County Schools, told the school board during its meeting last week.


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